New Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce Set to Make a Difference
Rural Virginian - Published: July 02, 2010 By Patrick Robbins
There are many Chambers of Commerce found all over the United States that serve as an advocate in the interest of businesses of various sizes and involved in many industries. It is no different here in Fluvanna County. The Fluvanna County Chamber of Commerce serves as the go-between for businesses that are members of the organization and the government. The organization’s presidential duties belong to the Assistant Vice-President of the Union First Market Bank, located near Lake Monticello in the Food Lion parking lot, and she is ready to help Fluvanna businesses prosper and grow.
Cheryl L. Martino was recently elected president by the Board of Directors of the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce, beginning her term in April. She was born and raised in the Charlottesville area and lives in Ruckersville with her two teen-age sons. She has worked in the banking industry for more than 26 years. She likes to make the commute to Fluvanna, because of the people who live here. “[Fluvanna County] draws so many different families and lifestyles here,” she says.
Her work with the chamber began three years ago when she came on board with the Greene County Chamber’s board. Since she has worked in banking with businesses, she has always been an active advocate for the business community, and being that she is now working in Palmyra, it was a natural fit for her to join forces with the Fluvanna chamber.
In Fluvanna, the chamber serves as an advocate for businesses and patrons of those businesses that want to see shops, stores and services, big and small, thrive. It offers networking events where business owners get together in a social setting, listen to speakers who educate and create a larger voice before the county government. Special events hosted by the chamber include Business After-Hours, where a local business presents itself to the wider community to show what they can do or the products they offer within a social networking atmosphere.
Martino’s goals as president of the chamber are straightforward. She wants to bring in more businesses as members of the group and show owners that this is “their chamber,” that it works for the businesses who are members and the patrons of member businesses and to “find value” in their membership. The chamber is doing all it can to give more value to the membership by offering a website that advertises the county businesses as well as the county itself with the idea of drawing in new customers. Her goals are coming true, as many businesses have renewed their memberships and more businesses are coming on board. This “shows that there is some excitement out there,” she notes of the Fluvanna business community.
Martino and the chamber of commerce are setting their sights on improving economic development in the county. It is high on the agenda to let customers know that it is good for the county to “buy local.” A logo was developed in conjunction with the county government and local business owners who were not only interested in thriving themselves but also make sure that all business owners in Fluvanna thrive, as well. This logo is to remind patrons that before you drive the long distance elsewhere, what you are looking for may already be here in Fluvanna County. A local purchase goes a long way in keeping businesses alive in the county and gives businesses the ability to hire more local employees. This continuing effort is only one way the chamber is working to make sure that not only the businesses thrive, but so does the county.
As part of a continuing push to improve economic development, the chamber attends Board of Supervisors’ meetings, advocating for member businesses “to be a voice, to be heard,” she says. The chamber wants to be the voice for its member’s owners, making sure that the government hears those shop and service owners. Martino is confident that Fluvanna is a business friendly community. She and the chamber will take the visions and goals of business owners to the Board of Supervisors and let them know if they want more infrastructures, such as allowing for more growth, improving water services and promoting many other strategies that will encourage new businesses to sprout and for old businesses to expand. Not only will the chamber be that “voice,” but it encourages business owners to be in the audience and put faces to those that the chamber speaks of at those meetings.
For more information on Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce, visit http://www.fluvannachamber.org, or 177 Main St., P.O. Box 93, Palmyra, VA 22963. Or call (434) 589-3262, fax (434) 589-6212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .